Time Code 9733 in the making – first impressions from Nayana Bhat
„The nature of a work of art is to be not a part, nor yet a copy of the real world (as we commonly understand that phrase), but a world in itself, independent, complete, autonomous; and to possess it fully you must enter that world, conform to its laws, and ignore for the time the beliefs, aims and particular conditions which belong to you in the other world of reality,“ said professor Bradley in 1901 in Oxford lectures on poetry, which writer Jeanette Winterson quotes in her book „Art and Lies“.
It took me more than an hour to find back this quote that I had read somewhere three years ago. But I couldn’t get on with this article until I found it, only because nothing else could so aptly describe the production-in-process of Andrea K Schlehwein. I have been part of this project for a ridiculously short period of time, and yet, I notice the huge pile of motifs that are at work here.
I have been part of this complex-structured project for a mere two days. Two whole days. Too less to learn the language of this alien world, but long enough to feel like I belong here. The first day as I arrived at Andrea‘s office cum studio cum museum cum performance space cum church, I found a bunch of people hanging around gawking at their computer screens, writing, discussing, moving about, having coffee and cigarette breaks. After the brief but warm pleasantries, Andrea got down to business right away, without much explanation. „Before we breakfast together, I want you to go around and take a look the work-space. Jot down the first set of questions that come to your mind, and come back,“ said she. Compelling but not regardless. Clear but not curt. Atleast, not the most commonly seen approach in my last 10 years of dancing around. This is going to be interesting, I thought to myself. And it was.
The team consists of artistes from different places, as Netzwerk AKS usually operates – Austria, Germany, Greece, South Korea and Belgium. As I ran my interviews with each of them, it was striking to see how each one of them had something in common with the other, thus finding mutually common grounds at work, while contributing their individual values.
The project is motivated by various topics , as is its maker. Andrea is fiercely political. During the interview, she vehenmently speaks about how the virtual world of mass-media is run and viewed by people that compulsively consume news, where human beings are reduced to numbers, without stopping a second to contemplate or process. “We are like a boat without a captain,” she professes, “that does not have a clear direction in which to go.” She is of course also alluding to the blue boat sculpture that she will be using in the performance as a symbolic reference to this subject. I don’t just yet have an exact idea as to how the production would look like, but a direction seems to open itself to me.
Eventually, as I speak to Roman, the digital artiste, Maria – the dancer, Brigitte – theallinone-coordinator-coffeemaker-collaborator-younameit, I get a clearer understanding of what each one of them is doing there, and why are they there in the first place. They are not working with Andrea for the first time, unlike me, and seem to share a certain history together and comprehend each other’s working ways as well as goals quite well.
Every day a new performer seems to join the team. I happen to meet the youngest performer of the team, a gleeful 8-year old boy who has beautiful long hair like a golden waterfall. My extremely short-term participation in the project unfortunately doesn’t allow me to witness this young delight in action.
Before I know, day 1 is at an end, and I am still whirling from the impact.